Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Finishing Friends

This is a little mini post to recognize a couple of friends and family that are living the Philosophy of Finishing.

My workout buddy, Lori, started running a little while ago. She's now gone from running in place to finishing 5 miles. Congratulations!  She's working towards doing a half marathon with me this spring.

My mom is a craftohilic. She regularly volunteers to do big craft projects for all 4 of her children's family. She usually gets about a 1/4 of the way done on each, then  it gets boxed up for another year.  This time, she decided to make really neat advent calendars for all of us. And she delivered this them just in thime to start the month long countdown to Christmas. Overcoming paper-eating printers missing supplies, and a neurotic dog that eats everything, she perservered to complete the task she promised to do.  Way to go.

  Everything is worth finishing, from household chores, to projects, to life long dreams. What is left unfinished unravels and leaves bit and pieces all over, disrupting my peace of mind because I can't let it go.  Today I finished moving my girls into one bedroom together. What did you finish today?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Turkey

This post may be a little late for you to do something about it this year, but give this a thought for next time you know you're going to be eating a big meal.

EARN SOME EXTRA CALORIE SPENDING

Right now I just finished a 10 mile turkey trot. I really didn't want to, but I knew I was going to be eating yummy rolls with cinnamon honey butter, sweet potatoes and caramel sauce, and spoonbread (for those of you not from the south think creamed corn with cream cheese and cornbread stuffing baked in a big pot). A gigillion calories. so my choices were as follows:

1. Stare at yummy food longingly and be super grumpy that I didn't eat any
2. Eat lots of yummy food and then whine about how fat I was going to get (the usual choice)
3. Eat lots of yummy food and promise to run it off later. (yeah right)
4. Burn a bunch of calories first, then while my metabolism is roaring, eat lots of yummy food and not worry about the impact because I've already earned my calorie intake.

If you said #4 you've just won an evening of guilt free fun and food. Though you may still feel a little bloated, you can be confidant that it's only temporary.

FUN FACT
After a tough workout is the best time for a treat or carb because your body is burning more efficiently and able to use the carbohydrates immediately instead of storing them

So enjoy your food, choose wisely, and if you don't - then go easy on yourself.. there's always tomorrow

Monday, November 14, 2011

A look in the mirror

          My phone's alarm buzzed. 5:45 am. What nutjob set the alarm for the ungodly....oh yeah, that would be me.  This morning I am going to force myself to get out of bed and go to the 6:00 class Step and Pump at Newport Sports Club.  "A combination of barbells, free weights and aerobic step form a complete body workout". It sounded a lot better last night when I had set the alarm, this morning it just sounds...bleh.  How easy would it be to turn off the alarm and stay under the warm covers? No one would know, no one would care and I would get an extra hour's sleep that I really think I deserved. But alas, I would know. I had committed to go and by golly I was strong enough to drag my butt out of this cozy bed... in 5 more minutes.
           
           Braving the freezing temperatures, I got in my car and drove the 1 1/2 miles to the gym. Aside from the instructor, Becky, I was the first one to arrive.  Apparently everyone else has trouble getting up this early too.  The other ladies straggled in a few minutes after the class had started. Some of them I recognized from other fitness classes and some of them professed to be new at this whole exercise thing. Been there, done that.

        We started with a brief warmup to get blood flowing and muscles loose. Ok, I could do this, nothing too hard. Then Becky decided that we must not need our legs today, because she went into a never ending torturous squat and lunge set on the right side. I hate squats  The only thing I hate more than squats are lunges.  3 hours passed, ok so maybe not.  But it honestly felt like it.  My right leg was cooking from inside.  They aren't joking when they say "Feel the burn".  I really REALLY did not want to do the rest of this set, let alone the left side.  What were my options? Like all fitness classes there are modifications you can do if a move is too difficult.  I could lower the weight. I saw one or two ladies switching from 20 lbs down to 15. I could take a rest and march in place. Or I could go home. But did I really need to?  I had to take an honest look at my body and how I was feeling. Was I injured? No, just sore. Was I having trouble breathing? No more than anyone else during exercise. So why did I want to quit? Because it was hard, that's why. It felt uncomfortable and I just didn't want to do it.  I wanted to leave early and go back to bed.  That wasn't a good enough reason to quit anymore.  If I left I would be saying that not only do I hate squats, but that I didn't believe I could finish the hour long class. That I wasn't strong enough. No way. I had hiked for 11 hours on Lone Peak, so I knew I could do 1 measly little hour.

          With the decision to finish made, I felt a weight lift off my shoulders.  And not just because  we had put the barbell down. I knew with a certainty that I would find a way to fight through and finish this class, even if I had to go a little slower than everyone else. I was feeling pretty darned proud of myself as I picked up the weights for the next set when in the mirror I caught a flash of movement.  It was one of the newbies, packing up her step and putting away her weights. I don't know if it was exhaustion or pure emotion, but she looked utterly dejected.  I'm sure she had planned on slipping out of class without calling attention to herself. The instructor had other plans.
            "Hey where are you going? It's too early to have someplace else to be" Becky joked into the sound system headset mic.
            "This is just way too hard for me."
            "That's okay, just go a little slower, take a break and then try again." Becky encouraged.
            "No, I think I just need to work up to this on my own for awhile before I come back."
       
           I think everyone in the room knew she would not be back. Becky protested again but the woman just raised a hand and walked out of the classroom, out of the gym, got in her car, and drove away.  I wanted to run after her and shake her. To tell her all about how important it was to finish what you start. To tell her what I'd learned, what I tell myself everyday, You don't have to be perfect, you don't even have to do it well at first, just finish. Because when you quit something you are saying "I'm not good enough". But when you finish you build a sense of accomplishment and trust in yourself that you can hold on to when things get hard.

          But I didn't say any of those things. I finished my workout and went home and wrote this post because I could not get that woman out of my head. She probably went home and beat herself up about how she wasn't good enough. Then she probably started beating herself up about all the things that she isn't good enough, smart enough, or thin enough for.

        How arrogant of me to suppose what she is thinking, right? Maybe. I only venture a guess because I was her.  For years and years I would get stuck in that cycle of quitting and shame spirals and ice cream binge eating.  That's why I write this blog, why I have a goal to write a book. Why I face the wrath of Caleb Warnock at American Fork Art Council Writing Workshop every week. Because I know what it's like to pray that God has an exchange policy. To wish you could send yourself in for warranty work and come back better, thinner, smarter, stronger. To look in the mirror and hate what you see, not only on the outside, but everything about you.
       
         But I don't anymore, well most of the time. And so I'm trying to figure out a way to help others find their way back to the mirror without cringing. Hopefully I can find a way to do that without sounding like Tony  Robbins or a new Church member on a mission to convert the world, lost in their zealousy. So I write one blog, one page, one story at a time. It's hard, and sometimes I want to quit. I tell myself that nobody gives a hoot about what I've done, that nobody would want to read anything I write. Then I say, shhhh. It doesn't matter. I can only control what I put out into the world and make it my best. Makes no difference whether it's New York Times bestseller material, or something only my family will ever read. Only thing that matters is that I finish.

Monday, November 7, 2011

"Don't throw out your fat clothes"

          Hopefully you've had a little practice working on your inner dialogue.  You know, the one where you tell yourself how awesome you are, and that you can do anything.  Because if your inner voice is a positive one, it's a little easier to tune out the negative ones coming from the outside. You know that ones I'm talking about.  Some are well meaning friends and some are just mean. period.

           As I started losing weight and training for a marathon, everyone and their dog seemed to have an opinion on how I was progressing and what I should do.  About half were really supportive.

"Wow, you look amazing. What are you doing? Keep it up!"

The other half ranged from semi supportive, to downright rude.  Here are some of the little tidbits I've collected from friends, family, and strangers.

"Are you crazy? You do know how long a marathon is right?"
"Aren't you gonna need knee replacements, you know cuz of the extra weight and pressure from running?"
"So.. a marathon.. that's great... Is the registration fee refundable?"
"Whatever you do, don't throw out your fat clothes. Because it will be really expensive to buy them all again when you get bigger next time."

     That last one was a personal favorite.  By the time this loved one (whom will remain nameless) said that to me, I already had some good self-confidence brewing.  So I went straight home and boxed up all my clothes that were too big now, yes even my beloved cashmere XXL sweater.

     Just because you've analyzed your past mistakes and moved past them, doesn't mean everyone else doesn't remember all your faults in 3D. It may take them some time to realize that you have changed. In the meantime, surround yourself with people who do support you and have only positive things to say about you. And when someone you love doubts you, just remember that they aren't the ones making the decisions. You are.  Only you can determine whether you quit or succeed. They just haven't been enlightened yet.

Until next time, if someone says something negative, just tell your inner cheerleader to yell louder.
 "Never give up!"

Friday, November 4, 2011

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Voices

    I have a confession to make.  I hear voices in my head. If you're honest with yourself, you probably do too. I hear the voices of all my past failures, telling me I'm not good enough, that I'll never make it, that I should give up.  Do you have them too? I'd put odds that yours sounds a lot like mine probably. Does your mental bully tell you that you're not as good as so and so? Or that you are mediocre or average at best.  Well, right now I want you to tell that little voice to SHUT UP!! Ahh blessed quiet.  Oh wait, in the distance can you hear a much fainter voice saying "You can be more." Ok I want you to make friends with that little voice, it's your new best friend.

    I know someone who says he is blessed with a little inner voice that doesn't beat him down. Instead it says, "Get the hell out of my way".  His name is Caleb Warnock. He's a best selling author, professor, editor, mentor, and acts like a cattle prod for all struggling writers that are in his group. I would venture that one of the reasons he is so accomplished is that he doesn't have a voice that holds him back, but one that propels him forward.  My point is that while not all of us may be blessed with a mental voice that cheers for us, if you want to be happy and successful you need to make yourself one.

Has anyone ever seen the Stuart Smalley skits from the old Saturday night live? Where he stands in front of the mirror in the ugliest sweater ever and says "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough and goshdarnit, people like me."  It's hilarious, but it's also true.  If you want to change your inner dialogue you need to first hear it from your own mouth. It sounds hokey I know.  When I tried it I felt like a total a$$. But trust me, you need to hear yourself say something positive about you and your goals.  Please do not quote Stuart.  Your own "daily affirmation" needs to be personal and something you would say.  It's a little embarrassing to admit, but I would say to myself "You are awesome. You can do anything. You never quit."  After a while it wasn't so forced. Then I could say to myself anywhere, in the middle of a run, a restaurant, or somewhere I needed strength, "I am awesome, I can do anything, I never quit."

Before every yoga practice I would tell myself "I am a fuel efficient furnace", and I will swear that this little phrase helped me to not be paranoid about every little thing I put in my mouth, or about the speed of my metabolism. The only person who should hear it is you.  So don't feel self conscious or say this is dumb.  That's the voice we are trying to silence. No one else is making you feel stupid right now, just your own doubts and insecurities. It's just you and the little angel on one shoulder, the devil on the other. Flick the devil off and start telling yourself how great you are.  I promise that after a while, you'll even start to believe it.

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